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About us Our stuttering past, Broca Brothers and the mission

Our stuttering past

Yes, we’re actual brothers and in the past we stuttered severely. Hille’s head used to shake whenever he really wanted to say something while Sjoerd rather kept his mouth shut to avoid stuttering altogether.

Stuttering held us back in everything. Starting a conversation, cracking a joke or introducing ourselves never happened without nerves and hesitation and it usually resulted in us saying nothing at all.

“He did his own thing, we didn’t see him often, but he graduated, so congratulations.” Those were the final words that Sjoerd received during his highschool graduation ceremony. In the meantime, Hille had to quit college. His second year required a lot of communication with people around him. Wanting none of that he started to avoid situations, didn’t meet the required amount of credits and so he had to leave college.

Hille was sent to speech therapy at an early age in an attempt to fix his stutter. Unfortunately there was no such outcome. After multiple years of frustration and disappointment he decided to try again during his early 20’s. Things started to look better for a while but after some time Hille found himself in a relapse. He was back to where he started. The approach heavily focussed on the physical aspects of stuttering, the actual speaking, which led to a relapse time and time again.

All in all a lot of frustration that you’re probably familiar with. Not being able to say what you want to say, not being able to show the real you, and then trying to accept the situation even though it doesn’t feel right.

And it really didn’t feel right. Trying to live with stuttering in that way didn’t work for us. Stuttering was too much of a restriction for us to accept it. That’s why, around 4 years ago, we decided to take matters into our own hands in order to fully understand stuttering and overcome it.

We ordered books, searched the internet and above all get ourselves into conversations more to practise. We had to figure it out, we were fed up with it. We were much more than we were able to show the world because of stuttering.

April 14, 2016. City theater Groningen. 400 spectators, 2 ex-stutterers.

10 more minutes!“, we heard.

We were getting ready to share our story about stuttering with the people present. For a second we had to think back to the journey that led us to being able to do so fluently.

In his youngest years, Hille was always running from neighbour to neighbour to pay them an unannounced visit and strike up a conversation. Recognized by his shiny blue boots and long blonde hair he was the most social kid of the streets.

That young Hille went to the bakery once. Full of confidence he was getting himself ready to order some bread. But suddenly he couldn’t pronounce the word bread. The man behind him shouted:

Who in the world sends his stuttering kid to the bakery?!

Stuttering happened and it made us insecure, shy and quiet. Instead of raising our hand to answer a question we rather let our turn pass, afraid of stuttering. Stuttering became entangled in our way of life. It influenced our thoughts, our actions, our everything. Everything we did was based on or around our stutter. It led to speaking anxiety and social anxiety. Of course we wanted to speak up when we really felt the need to, but we just couldn’t. Always worrying about stuttering and how we would come across to other people and so not being able to fully express ourselves.

Back to the city theater. As first speakers of the day we were picked up from the dressing rooms and getting ready to enter the stage. A few stairs, past the production team and on to the side of the stage. Microphone being pinned up, a last wish of good luck from the organization and another brotherly hug. We were excited. Onto the stage.

Fluently and clearly we shared our story, as if we had been doing this for years. Conclusion: best speakers of the day, or so we were told.

“Fluently and clearly we shared our story, as if we had been doing this for years.”

Broca Brothers

Because we were completely stuck in stuttering, when it looked like nobody could give us the answers we were looking for, we decided to take matters into our own hands. It took us quite some time, but slowly but surely we started to see change in our speech. Whenever we would meet after not having seen each other for a month, the progress was clearly visible. Something was happening which left us rather asthonished.

We simply started to speak more and more fluently, but this time without any techniques. It was natural and spontaneous. We started to behave differently, speaking up more often, opening up to people around us and building the habit of starting conversations. We finally started to feel more and more at ease in social situations.

We had figured it out. More and more fluency came our way. On a sunny afternoon it was Hille who suggested to do something with our new found knowledge: “Let’s make some videos about this with tips and what not and see what happens.

It clicked instantly. This was something that we had to do. Sjoerd came up with the name Broca Brothers and we got to work. We had no expectations, but it didn’t take long before the media and other speech therapists picked up on our story. One thing led to the other and our first interviews happened in the course of 2016. Not much later we were featured in national newspapers.

Since December 2016 we’re personal coaching in the Netherlands. August 2017 marked the start of our first steps abroad, having coached in Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom.

And so stuttering still plays a big part in our lifes, but it took an 180 degrees turn from negativity and holding back to positivity and expressing ourselves. By first working on ourselves we were able to help others. Nothing feels better than being able to help others who are struggling with the same issues that we went through. Sometimes we forget how fast everything has changed.

Or like John C. Harrison said: “Broca Brothers, you rock! You’re gonna change your part of the world.”

The mission

Our stuttering changed from a restriction to a purpose of life. We feel it is our mission to reach as many people who stutter as possible and support them in their process of overcoming stuttering. Below you will find our mission statement.  It is our who, what and why, written from the heart. It keeps us focussed on the things we want to achieve for ourselves, the people around us and everyone else. Or like John C. Harrison said: “Broca Brothers, you rock! You’re gonna change your part of the world.

Mission statement

We see Broca Brothers becoming a worldwide authority in the fields of stuttering and self-expression. We will grow into a global movement which inspires people who stutter to take action and let loose of the chains that have been put on them by stuttering.

Through many ways we will give our part of the world, people who stutter, the knowledge and tools they need in order to follow the path to natural, spontaneous and fluent speech and self-expression.

Our books, courses and coaching will be globally renowned as liberating, inspiring and transforming. We spread our view on stuttering to inspire others to take action accompanied by the mantra of “Learn to fully express yourself.”

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